verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jingle Bell Schlock

There's a bear out there.  Don't try and tell me there's not because I know there is. And don't try and tell me that It's more afraid of me than I am of It. Because It's not.

Being a dog walker of the 21st Century, I have incorporated the latest technology advances into my work.  I have weather alerts texted to me on the phone, forewarning of incoming blizzards and thunderstorms and floods.  That same phone doubles as a camera. I have biodegradable poop bags.  I even have organically grown, petroleum-free home made dogs treats.  But so far finding a tool that warns of nearby bears up has been a difficult and complicated task.  Call me a scaredy-cat, but I have absolutely no desire to see a bear.  No thanks.  I get the idea.  Big, black, furry.  That's quite enough for me.

Lately I keep getting emails from the local listserv that oh boy, The So-and-So Family had a bear in their yard that was eating the bird seed! And oh boy again!  That same bear--NO, a different bear was spotted in another part of town.  I really, really don't want to know this.  Well, ok, I do want to know approximately where they are, but I don't want/need/have to know how big they are or how much they weigh or how sharp their claws are.  Or how fast they run.  Or that they have 4 wheel drive. Or that they have two cubs in tow.  Or that the one on Longly Road had a tattoo and a little gold hoop earring.  I try to get all this information to go in one ear and right out the other so that I can focus on my walks.

I'm walking.  Walking some more.  Keeping on walking.  Whistling and walking.

Still walking. And then my head says:

don't think about bears don't think about bears don't think about bears... but I'm still thinking about bears i'm still thinking about bears...stop thinking about bears stop thinking about bears stop thinking about bears...there's no such thing as bears there's no such thing as bears there's no such things as bears...bears don't like this trail bears don't like this trail bears don't like this trail...bears love this trail bears love this trail bears love this trail...

This only makes me a walking raving scaredy-cat.

So I get clever.  Snitching a jingle bell bracelet from a little friend and strapping it onto my wrist, I test drive this anti-bear rig on my next walk with Artemis and Biscuit.  They seem annoyed by the sound at first, but run ahead and I fake-relax.  As the walks continue I decide to do a little behind-the-scenes research.  All bear hot-lines strongly suggest avoiding any encounter with a bear.  But just in case, they offer a couple suggestions.  They point out that a bear's nose is very sensitive and giving it a good whack might help (whack? the bear??).  Another source suggests playing dead, even if the bear is attacking you (play dead?).  And yet another source suggests making yourself grow very large and shouting "GO AWAY! OOGA BOOGA BOOGA."  Um, no.

But at last I was shown the answer.  A couple of walks later and with jingle bells in motion, I noticed something.  Artie and Biscuit, who normally go at their own paces (Artie to the left on high speed, Biscuit to the right on low) were glued to my sides.  They were sticking right with me, being uncharacteristically attentive, and going very slowly.  Their nostrils were onto a scent. Clearly, they were concerned about something. And they were dead serious about it. And so I knew.  I knew for sure.  They were telling me.  They were telling me exactly what I had wanted to know. Something was nearby.  Something big, something black, something furry.  I had no doubt about that.  I was swept with relief and fear.  I now KNEW that there was reason to have some fear.  The good news was that I knew what the bad news was.  We quietly and ever so gracefully turned ourselves around tip-toed toward home.  We all sat on the back steps and told bear stories while we panted and drank from the pool.

I'll keep the bells, but screw technology.  I've got the dogs. 

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